India despatches personnel to Israel to get trained for AWACS

India despatches personnel to Israel to get trained for AWACS
A K Dhar, Gwalior, Oct 13 (PTI) The first batch of IAF personnel including pilots have been sent to Israel to get trained on operational and maintenance of the Air Early Warning and Control aircraft ahead of India receiving the first three AWACS late next year.

"A batch of IAF personnel have been sent to Israel for basic training in operating the AWACS," a top IAF officer told PTI here during the ongoing Indo-UK joint air combat exercises.

Israel under a 1.1 billion US dollar deal is mounting three Phalcon airborne radars on a Russian IL-76 platform for delivery to India by December 2007.

In a run up to induction of the AWACS technology, IAF in the course of a number of bilateral air exercises is trying to get familiar with the technology. IAF was first exposed to operating under AWACS condition when the air warriors went to France, two years back to exercise with the French Air Force.

Last year at Kalaikunda in West Bengal, the US Air Force for the first time brought the AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) over the Indian skies.

In the just concluded Indo-UK air exercises codenamed Indradhanush-06, the Royal Air Force fielded their E-3D sentry AWACS.

"The Royal Air Force allowed four IAF fighter controllers everyday as observers to familiarise the IAF personnel with the complexities of AWACS operations," Air Marshal K D Singh, Senior Air Staff operations, told newsmen.

Air Chief S P Tyagi had recently said that the force was in the process of setting up special laboratories for processing voice and data links downlinked by these advanced airborne surveillance aircraft.

He said that AIF expected all the sub systems for the AWACS to be in place before their induction in December next year.

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